SF High Schools Showcase Mobile Gaming

Twelve San Francisco public high school students will be showcasing three mobile games they created after weeks of work through a San Francisco-based free coding and web development summer program.

The students, who range from incoming freshmen to graduating seniors and attend schools across the district including Lincoln, Wallenberg and Lowell high schools, are part of Mission Bit’s summer mobile game development program, according to program founder Tyson Daugherty.

The dozen students split into three groups to build their own games at Mission Bit’s free summer program for the past six weeks.

Demonstrations of the games start at 5 p.m. at 220 Montgomery St., Suite 750 at Pocket Gems’ offices.

A panel of industry leaders, including executives and game designers from Zynga, Google Play, Pocket Gems and other companies, will judge and provide feedback on the games and select the best game.

The different games are “Wolf Pack,” about an ambitious wolf trying to get to the top of the pack; “Snail Assalt” revolving around King Snaily’s attempt to conquer the world, but first contending with kid-bully Jimmy; and “Swipe Magic” which includes magic and monsters, according to San Francisco Unified School District officials.

The group of students, part of the Mission Bit’s free computer science classes for public high school students at 11 high schools in San Francisco, worked with game designers, developers, and artists to come up with their final product, according to Daugherty.

He said the summer course gave students the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of game design and gave them a sense of accomplishment.

He called the new batch of game developers a “good dedicated crew of students.”

According to Daugherty, the students seemed to enjoy the brainstorming session, coming up with hundreds of possible games, before honing in on a theme and tackling the technical side of game creation.

Mission Bit kicked off last fall with after-school courses held at different schools and San Francisco tech companies during 13-week programs.

Daugherty said his instructors work with schools to align coding and web development classes with computer science courses already offered during the school day.

One such program is Balboa High School’s so-called “Game Academy” program, which offers classes in art and design, drama, music and audio production, video and photography, animation and motion graphics, according to school officials.

Mission Bit’s game development program was formed after there was high demand from spring students to make games, he said.

The games will eventually be available for download and free to play through Mission Bit’s website, Daugherty said.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

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